Struggling to be strong.

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by ColleenB, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    I am fairly new here. I posted over Xmas how my oldest son who has struggled lately with depression and anxuety has been going down a scary road of drugs, drinking and now selling drugs. I thought we had turned a corner at Xmas, had an ok family trip. No arguments, had some fun. Since home, we paid for tuition for him to return to classes. This is the fourth time he has tried, third time we paid. He paid himself last term and had to withdraw. He promised us he wouldn't sell anymore, but we aren't convinced. He still has no job, but has gas money and I still see him spending. He says its left over from before. Not sure I believe him. He has two classes with his younger brother, and we count on him to drive him to classes. Now we find out he sometimes drops brother off but skips class. And yesterday younger son skipped class.... Ugh! I was so upset I can't even sleep tonight. My husband is ready to kick them both out. I know we won't. We are both too soft. I feel like we have worked so hard to provide a privileged life for them and they have zero respect or appreciation. They aren't rude to us usually and very kind, both of them, but something is not right. How does our oldest think his choices are ok? We must have given that impression.... I blame myself all he time. I'm now on anti depressants and sleeping pills so I can function in my job. ( which ironically is a guidance counsellor) my oldest son said to me today "I just feel you are sad all the time" which makes me realize I have contributed to this ..... I feel like I'm losing any sense of self or happiness. I am trying but I'm still drowning.
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Colleen, how does this have anything to do with you?

    These are their choices.

    How could you feel happy, with these worries?

    Read some of our old posts. Are all of us failures as mothers? We may be, but how does that help? The key to this is simple, but very, very hard:

    First, recognize that for our adult children to change, they have to do it. They have to want it.

    Two, recognize that we cannot make the kinds of choices we had wanted to, without the risk of enabling their self-destructive, self-defeating behaviors. Subsidizing your son's college while you know he deals drugs and uses them.

    These scenarios all of us are facing require new behaviors by us.

    We all of us try self-blame, self-attack as our first line of defense against the reality that our adult children are choosing. It does not work. It does not help you, your children or your family. It makes it worse.

    The only control you have here is in you. To choose differently how to deal with your adult children, and how to treat yourself.

    Keep posting. I am glad you are back. I hope you do not feel I am being hard on you. Others will check in tomorrow morning, starting at 4 AM Pacific Time.

    Posting helps. As much as you can. You figure things out not only getting support for your specific circumstances but by reading and responding to the posts of others. That is how changing occurs. We are glad you are here. We understand. It is not your fault. Take care. (Many of us do jobs like yours. Therapists, Doctors, Teachers. People whose kids should thrive. It only makes it harder on us.)

    It is not your fault.

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  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    The first thing to realize is that you are powerless to control this. (That is an AA saying and it fits.) You cannot control your children. You control you. Your house. If you choose it.
    Personally, I do not think this is unrealistic.

    Your son was dealing drugs in your home. He was using drugs in your home. If that is not a reason to ask him to leave I do not know what is.

    It is the normal progression of life that adult children make their own life. If our children are choosing behaviors that we detest, perhaps there is a statement being made. Maybe it is time. At the least drug treatment might be in order, with a plan to become independent down the line.

    A way to look at this is that by allowing your son to continue in your home, by subsidizing his education when you fear he has a drug habit, and has behaved feloniously by dealing drugs, may be seen by him as your condoning it.

    By encouraging him to be with his younger brother, for support, may be interpreted by your younger son that everything is OK. It is not OK. If everything was OK, you would not need antidepressants and sleeping pills (me too.)

    These are decisions that we as parents make that we can change so that the messages we give our adult children with our behaviors are consistent to that which we say.

    That is what we can do to support our children to change: To speak with one voice. In what we say and what we do.

    I am not an expert on substance abuse. (Others will be here tomorrow morning.) My son uses heavily marijuana, which I detest, but as far as I know, not hard drugs. But the underlying principle is the same.

    My son is mentally ill and has a chronic illness. He is very brilliant but lives a minimally responsible life. He too struggles with depression, anxiety and body dysmorphia.

    I was heartsick. I still get physically ill when I am near him. To the point of vomiting blood. I am underscoring my point here. I do not mean to be gross. This is all very, very hard. These are our babies. All of our hope and value in ourselves is wrapped up in them. NOT.

    They are not our babies anymore. They are adult men. That is our task and theirs to accept. Your adult children will not be served by your self-destructing. Nor will my son. I am finally understanding this. How much better off I would have been to learn this 8 years ago. My son is 27.

    I am not judging you. What I am putting forth here is a different way to think about ourselves and our situations that I learned here in only 8 months on this site.

    I fear I may be being too hard on you. I took my benadryl and maybe I am disinhibited. Forgive me. I want you to be OK. I do not want you to suffer.

    I believe that our sons will work this out. But they need first that we face the truth. Instead of tearing ourselves up in pieces.

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    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I like copas suggestions.

    When you allow drug sales and use from your house you risk everything. If the drugs are there and you know about it and allowed it you could get into legal trouble too.

    Your yougest son does not need to be around his older brother. He should not in my opinion be responsible for driving him anywhere. He is beiong sucked into your older sons world. Older son needs to feel consequnces or he wont change. Helping him is hurting him and the rest of the family.

    I strongly suggest going ti al anon or a private therapist before sinebody gets hurt. Drug dealers hang around with some violent criminals who have no codes of honor.

    in my opinion oldest son endangers you all by living in your house. Forget college for now. He has a long way to go to be able to do that.

    Hugs for your hurting heart. You need to be strong or you will all go down with him.
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  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Colleen, welcome back, I have missed your posting. I am sorry for your need to be here again.
    Please do not be so hard on yourself. Kids grow up and make choices that have nothing to do with how they were raised, they make mistakes. They try other ways. It is not that you were a bad parent, or even that they are bad kids. They get caught up in wrong choices.

    One thing leads to another.

    It is not your fault, or mine, or any other broken hearted parent.

    Kids make bad choices.

    You suspect your son is still dealing.
    Colleen you cannot keep doing this, jeopardizing your peace within.
    It is a battle, we see what is happening and get swallowed up with it. Swallowed up by our love for our children. Our love blinds us and turns us into people who don't know what to do.
    The kids see this and use it to their advantage. They see what we go through. It sends us into a spin.

    They want us there. Down in the rabbit hole. It keeps us from making strong decisions.

    That is the worst part about it. The kids know exactly what they are doing.

    We go through guilt, blame, sadness, depression over what they are doing, and they want us to keep spinning with this, because then they can do what they want to do. They want to stay in our homes and run all over us.

    Stop it Colleen.

    Don't you let them do this to you.

    Stand up. Get off your knees.

    You know this, you are a counselor.

    That is what the hardest part is, when our heart fights our heads. The things they are doing has put you in the FOG.

    Get out of the FOG.

    You don't belong in there.

    Go see someone, alanon, a therapist. Sometimes we need strangers with flashlights to help us get out of this FOG our kids have sent us into.
    We need others to look at us face to face and tell us things we don't want to hear.

    You can do this Colleen. You are stronger than you think.

    You are not alone. We have all been right where you are. It hurts so very much, I am so very, very sorry for your heart ache.
    Keep posting, we are here for you. It helps to write out the pain and sorrow.....

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  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Colleen, this is my suggestion: make it clear to him that if he fails or has to withdraw from classes this semester you will not be paying for any more schooling. Also if he is using and/or selling drugs he will be caught and you will not bail him out, that he will have to accept the consequences of this and he will have to find another place to live.

    Once you have drawn that line in the sand be prepared to enforce it. If you are not going to enforce it don't say it. He has to know you mean what you say. If he is using/selling it will quickly catch up with him and he will be in serious trouble. It is not your problem. I know you think it's easy for me to say this but it is true. He is an adult and he has to know you will not cover for him or shelter him from consequences. Many of our kids have to learn that. You know it will only continue to get worse. If he knows you are soft he will use that to his advantage.

    Stay strong.
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  7. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    Thank you all for your words of wisdom and your support.

    We had an argument yesterday that ended ok, with being able to say some things that needed to be said. Oldest son hates conflict and will usually leave when upset. He said he needs to move out and I think he was surprised when I agreed with him. I also made it clear we will no longer pay his school. He needs to find a real job. He says he has one lined up. Do we believe him? Not sure. Husband has his bank info and can check his account , he said that the deposits from people have decreased significantly since Xmas, but he wants to keep watching. Son does not know we have access.

    We are trying to be clearer to both boys about our expectations . My husband told them both he is done paying tuition. I think it's a bit harsh on the younger one, and if he continues doing well I know we will help him some.

    I took a few days off work this week as I was not sleeping and having some episodes of vertigo. I'm hoping to fell better today and go back Thursday.

    I don't know where we will all end up, with older son but at least we are being clearer with him. He is such an amazing and smart young man, I just grieve over his choices since high school. He told me yesterday he thinks he is depressed, and plans on giving up drinking as its getting out of hand. I think he has replaced hard drugs with alcohol. I suggested seeing our Doctor. But it's up to him.
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  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I know this is very hard, but it is the right thing.
    Setting boundaries and expectations.
    Our kids, oh how we love them and grieve over the path they are on.
    It just makes no sense.
    What happened to the kids we loved so incredibly fully with our whole hearts?
    They grew up, and made bad choices.
    It is understandable, when we just go into a spin over it.

    Thinking back, I remember Colleen, when I first found out my two were into harder drugs.
    I found a little bag with white powder residue, much later, I found a glass pipe.

    They both looked at me incredulously as if I was out of my mind. Denial.

    "That is not mine. I don't do that stuff, just a little pot here and there."

    When their behavior got more erratic, it took me a while to realize what was happening, and to face it.
    It was so hard.
    I wanted to vomit.
    I was physically and mentally shaken.
    It was hard to get out of that sinking, hopeless, desperate state.
    I would "put on the mask" and go to work.
    It was exhausting.
    I am sorry for the heartache of this.
    It is devastating.

    The thing of it is, I was devastated and miserable, but the kids were not.

    It is as if I took the brunt of the negative impact of their drug use,
    and they were out there having a blast.

    I don't know why this happens, it just does.

    They go off the rails, and we feel all the pain of it.

    It makes us go crazy, and spin, and it makes it hard to make good decisions, regarding them.
    This is actually what they want,
    they don't want us to be clear headed, strong,
    because it keeps us from making rational decisions.

    I held on way too long.
    I tried and tried over and again.
    It didn't work.
    My kids dug themselves deeper into the drug scene, because having them at home afforded them that.
    My two, at home, funded their drug activities.
    It was too easy for them, and it nearly killed me.

    You are taking baby steps to put your foot down and stop the craziness.
    Take very good care of yourself, because this is the time when it is hard.
    It is a reality slap in the face.
    All of your mothering instincts are going to be screaming at you still,
    that you can stop your sons bad choices.

    But, you cannot.
    Keep saying this, it is so true, it is up to him.
    Your sons have much more of a chance then my daughters, Colleen,
    because you are learning this early on,
    that helping them is not helping them.

    I wish I had known earlier.
    Things would have been much different.
    I would not have held on for so long..............

    I am glad you are back posting. It was the key for me,
    to keep writing things out, and still is.
    I can see it on the screen, like journaling.
    It gets the toxic sludge that this builds up inside.....OUT.

    I have come to the conclusion that taking care of myself and living well
    is the best thing I can do for my children, all of them.

    my two, who are still making bad choices.

    I am showing them by example, how to live.
    That is where I am at.
    I am done going down the drain for them.
    What good does it do, of we self destruct with them?
    No good.
    It does nothing.

    There is always hope. Hope for all of us and our d cs.

    Stay strong dear, stay the course.

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  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Good job.
    Good. I put myself through a major university, bachelors, masters and doctorate. It made me who I am.

    It is much more expensive now. You can help, but it is not an obligation. It is a vote of confidence that he earns.

    He will qualify for help when he is no longer your dependent. You know that from your work. My niece got a full scholarship including room and board from a top 10 law school. These how people define themselves. You did good.
    Good. He is thinking like an adult here.

    Part of this is part of the journey to adulthood. And choosing differently when you are going towards the rocks. Good for him.

  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You and your husband are doing good Colleen. It is so important for the two of you to stay on the same page and support each other so the boys know they can't pit one of you against the other. I was very sad when my daughter decided to throw away her college opportunity. She knows now that was a big mistake, but we tried twice and lost money both times. We told her if she ever wants advanced schooling now she must do it on her own. Her choices have made her life difficult, can't get a job that pays enough to survive hardly. But it is what it is.

    I hope you are feeling better and stronger.
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Colleen

    I hope you are well. If you have a minute let us know how you are doing. Be well.

  12. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Colleen I see so much of myself in your post. Like you I have been going through substance abuse on and off for almost five years with my 20 year old son. He has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Was abusing benzos for some time from the stupid psychiatrist he was seeing and he kept prescribing and I kept getting them for him. He has been off those for a few years thank God because that was the worst ride of all (long story). Then was sober on and off for months at a time but then goes back to weed and drinking (pills? who knows). Beer seems ok but he likes whiskey which makes him a different person. Very sweet and kind normally. Just got him enrolled in 2 college classes (was 3 but one was canceled so we stuck with 2) but he continues to smoke weed and follow enough house rules to get by but not all. He started seeing a psychologist but only had one visit and now she is out of town for a while due to ill relative. He had an interview yesterday but I really feel if he does get the job he'll buy weed/booze and lose it anyway as has happened in past with all jobs. He is getting A's in both classes so far but I just am not feeling good at all right now with his continuing bad decisions. He really only has one friend and we won't let him come over right now due to pot smoking etc. in our home (his parents won't let anyone go to their house - wonder why!). We have thought about kicking him out but he really has no friends or girlfriend and would be in a shelter. If he did I totally would do it immediately!! I have a good marriage and have learned to try to be happy but this is always the feeling of doom. My husband (his dad) totally fed up and done but understands my fears. All of the women on here are so strong and make me feel not so alone.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, rn. I think you could get helpful feedback if this were your own new thread. Mods, can you please help?
  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi RN and welcome, sorry for your need to still be here. I saw your first post in 2012, so you have been dealing with this for awhile.I think when our kids go through middle school (mine) or high school with issues, and they continue past 18, it becomes a whole nother ballgame. It is all so very hard.......
    I can understand where you are with this, a rock and a hard place.
    Keep posting and sharing, the kind moms and dads here will offer up some good advice.
    It is totally up to you what you do.
    We will support you.
    I am glad you have posted.
    Hugs for your hurting heart.
    You are not alone.
  15. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Thank you so much for your kind words. My mother was an alcoholic so I never knew what I'd come home to and I feel like that right now again. I know others are there too. :(It sucks!
  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    It does suck, I truly know the feeling of not wanting to go home.
    I know the feeling of being stuck.
    This is a good place for you to come, get your feelings out,
    sort through them and try to come up with some solutions.
    Our homes are supposed to be our sanctuary, not someplace we dread going to.
    Hugs to you.
    On my way to work......
    Keep posting, we are all here for each other.
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    RN would you like me to move your post to it's own thread or continue as support to Colleen?
  18. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Sure Nancy.
  19. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sure what RN? Lol just want to make sure I do the right thing, move it or let it stay here?
  20. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I'm sorry I meant you can move it to it's own thread.